All But Done

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Toronto Raptors Unable to Pull Out Win, Lose in Overtime to Wizards

Time has just about run out on the Toronto Raptors season.

On Thursday evening, the Raptors were in an all out battle. Undermanned and playing with their hearts on their sleeve, the Raptors fought wire-to-wire, but ultimately fell to the Washington Wizards by a score of 131-129 in overtime.

They are now four games back of the final play-in spot with just five games remaining.

It’s all but over.

At this point, the Raptors can call it whatever they like – development, giving the young guys reps, growth mindset – the team is clearly looking towards the future and the playoffs are very much not in the cards, nor have they been for weeks now. Their idea of playing well is not the same as what a contending team would classify as playing well.

“I hate to sound like a broken vinyl record. We are [playing well],” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said following the deflating loss. “We were trying to execute the game plans and we’ve done an excellent job of that … tonight, again, [we had] 43 minutes of executing what we’re trying to do. I guess what I keep saying is that we’re doing what we’re trying to do, man. We put a game plan out there, we want to know if you can execute it and can we play offence with some composure and I thought we did that all night …. I’m not frustrated at all and I’m very proud of the guys, actually.”

Despite the loss, Thursday night belonged to Pascal Siakam who poured in 44-points, grabbed 11 boards and dished out seven dimes. Fred VanVleet scored 22 points of his own, while Gary Trent Jr. scored 25 points in his return to the lineup. Khem Birch continued his strong play adding 17 points and nine boards.

“Obviously we’ve been through a lot. It’s been a crazy year,” said Siakam. “As for me, my mentality is just that eventually the storm ends, so just got to continue to keep pushing to get better, continue to work on my game. Learn things that I think are going to get me to the next level. I think that’s my focus. Try to win every game we go out there, give it everything we’ve got. Do everything that you can to help the team win. Again, just live with the results.”

Destined for the lottery, the Raptors will now most certainly miss out on the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign, but there are definitely some positive takeaways that they will have from the final few weeks of what has been a strange season.

The Raptors will take on the Memphis Grizzlies next on Saturday night.

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